Yasui Konpiragu worked its magic, but for once, not in the terrifying way it usually does.

In Japan, there are a lot of places that have superstitions attached to them, and some of them are taken quite seriously, like the theory that moving Taira no Masakado’s severed head will unleash curses, and that a “killing stone” held captive a conniving nine-tailed fox…which might have recently been released. There’s also Yasui Konpiragu, a Kyoto shrine that somehow has the ability to sever ties in chilling ways.

Enshrined at Yasui Konpiragu is the spirit of Emperor Sutoku, who ruled Japan in the twelfth century and is said to have become a vengeful spirit upon his death. Asking him to help you sever unwanted ties in your life is very effective, but it comes at a price: bankruptcy, injury, illness…you name it. There are lots of stories about people who got what they wanted after praying at Yasui Konpiragu, but not in the way they wanted, and so every now and then the shrine pops up as trending on social media.

Our Japanese-language reporter Mariko Ohanabatake is someone who has experienced the terrifyingly effective magic of Yasui Konpiragu Shrine in Kyoto, so after seeing people talking about the shrine on Twitter, she wanted to share her story. If you’re suffering from bad luck and thinking of making a wish at Yasui Konpiragu, she hopes her story will be helpful to you.

Mariko visited Yasui Konpiragu six years ago. She’d just started working at a small editing production company, an important step in her dream of becoming a contributing editor. Unfortunately, that company had ended up being a complete nightmare to work for, and that ended up being the lowest point in her life. It was a total black company, where she experienced things like:

・Power harassment and abusive language from the boss
・The job listing had promised salaried employment but the job was instead a contract position
・There was no social insurance
・There were no paid vacation days
・There was no overtime pay and the pay was terrible
・She had to work until the last train every day
・She had to work on her days off doing things that weren’t her job
・She had to pay for her client’s drinking tabs

And more. If you played “Black Company Bingo” with that company, you’d be a winner in minutes. On top of all the hard work, the stress of tiptoeing around the boss, not knowing when next he might blow up, was tough on her nerves. She was so stressed she would get random chest pains and her skin was beginning to peel.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when her father died and she asked to take a week of absence for mourning. Her boss said, “Do you really need all that time off?” She wanted to quit immediately, but her salary was so low she hadn’t been able to save any money, and she was too busy to look for another job. On top of that, she was a contract worker, so she wasn’t eligible for unemployment insurance.

Faced with no safety net, she couldn’t safely quit her job. At the same time, she was also stressed about the fact that her boss could fire her at any moment without batting an eye. With no way out, Mariko was desperate and resorted to searching for “shrines that sever ties” on the Internet.

One day, she happened to be assigned a one-day business trip to Kansai, which was a rare occasion. The place she was headed was in Osaka, but once she was finished, she had time to jump on the Keihan Electric Railway and pop into a Kyoto tie-severing shrine before the sun went down. It was a sign from the heavens.

▼ Yasui Konpiragu Shrine

It was a bitterly cold day in February. A frigid rain fell from the sky. Despite this, Yasui Konpiragu Shrine was relatively busy and didn’t have a single ominous feel to it. Until Mariko took a look at the ema, the blocks of wood where people write their wishes.

“May (___) break up with that girl and come back to me.”
“May (___) and (___) break up.”

Mariko wondered if maybe such disturbing wishes were the reason for Yasui Koinpiragu’s frightening reputation.

At the center of the shrine was its most famous monument: a tie-severing and tie-establishing stone. It was 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) tall, 3 meters (9.8 feet) across, shaped like an ema board, and covered in white talismans. In the center of it was a hole.

To make your wish to sever ties, you write it on a piece of paper (which is a substitution for a Shinto talisman) and hold it in your hands as you pass through the hole from front to back, then back again, all while thinking of your wish. Afterward, you stick your talisman to the rock.

With shaking hands, Mariko wrote on her talisman, “May I part from my job harmoniously and work for a company that suits me.” Then, clutching her talisman, she began her passage through the hole, but it was a lot smaller than it looked. Drenched, crawling pitifully through the hole, pelted by rain, Mariko chanted desperately in her heart, “Please! Let me quit my job! Let me quit my job!” She did not even care what people might think of her.

When she’d finished, the sky had turned dark, so she bought a pure white “Charm for Turning over a New Leaf”, and left.

Yasui Konpiragu granted her wish one month later, right after a male coworker had quit. Mariko had been given a lot of work and toiled away at it daily, but one day, out of the blue, the company president declared, “Ohanabatake can’t be trusted! Don’t give her any more work!” Mariko had been working hard and doing everything assigned to her, so she had no idea where that came from.

Despondent, Mariko thought, “So it’s my turn.” That company always needed a scapegoat, and it had a pattern of suddenly targeting one person to bully. The man who had just quit had been one such target.

After that, Mariko became the subject of her office’s hatred and was given nothing to do but busy work. All of her previous work was regulated to a brand new employee, and her colleagues whispered loudly behind her back about how good a job the new employee was doing, all while insulting Mariko.

“If you have nothing to do, just go home!” they said. “You’re an eyesore!” Mariko suddenly found herself going home on time…and suddenly she had time to look for a new job!

Her boss had always told her, “There’s nothing else out there for you, so you should be grateful I’m letting you work here,” but as soon as Mariko got in touch with a job transfer agent, she was shown all kinds of vacancies. Each and every one looked better than where she was now.

With so many prospects ahead of her, Mariko humbly approached her boss and said, “I don’t think I have anything else to offer this company, so I’m going to quit in two months.” To her surprise, he readily agreed.

For the next two months, she was largely ignored and continued to go home on time every day, so she had plenty of time to find a new job. Finally, she received an offer from the job she most wanted and as a result is now happily writing articles for our Japanese-language site.

Mariko had never dreamed that her boss ignoring her would be what would let her finally be able to transfer jobs. She’d thought she’d asked in vain to be severed from her bad luck and connected to good luck, but her wish had actually been granted.

Though Yasui Konpiragu hadn’t granted her wish in the same frightening way it often does, the resolution had been swift and the break clean, so Mariko, in awe of the shrine’s power, made sure to return to express her thanks as soon as she got an offer.

That day, the weather was beautiful, and the shrine grounds were full of lovely, refreshing air. Mariko still remembers it to this day. She stopped at the tea house within the grounds and chatted with other visitors while she sipped her tea, and they all seemed very happy. Probably the one thing they all had in common was that they hadn’t wished any ill on other people.

So perhaps the key is to wish good things for yourself or others, and that will hold Prince Sutoku’s vengeful tendencies in check. Either way, it probably isn’t good to rely on the powers of the gods too often, so Mariko hasn’t been back to Yasui Konpiragu since. But now that it’s been a while, maybe she could benefit from a trip to the Kyoto shrine that could make her rich…if she dares ask the gods for help again.

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